Seven million livestock in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have died since last September due to severe drought conditions, according to a recent report by the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Famine Early Warning Systems Network.
“The Washington Post” reported last year that the carcasses of giraffes, goats, camels and droves of cattle were found in villages after starving to death in northern Kenya. Such losses can be ruinous for families, who face food insecurity as a result.
Rangers and hunters across East Africa have tried to help the animals by supplying water and planting drought-resistant trees, but the dry spell has been relentless.
Exacerbating the crisis, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has driven up the prices of wheat and maize.
The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in June this year that at least 18.4 million people are waking each day to high levels of acute food insecurity and rising malnutrition across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, and this figure could increase to 20 million by September.
In Somalia, 7.1 million people are now acutely food insecure, while 7.2 million people in Ethiopia and about 4.1 million people in Kenya are severely food insecure due to the drought. At least seven million livestock, which pastoralist families rely upon for sustenance and livelihoods, have died across the Horn of Africa, including more than 1.5 million in Kenya, between 2.1 million and 2.5 million in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, and three million in Somalia.
According to Unicef, the loss of livestock coupled with severe food shortages has caused many of the region’s children to have less access to milk, negatively affecting their nutrition.
Across the three countries, malnutrition rates are rising, with more than 7.1 million children acutely malnourished, including about two million who are severely acutely malnourished.
Relief Web released a humanitarian update regarding the East African drought which used long-lead seasonal forecasts, supported by a broad consensus of meteorological experts, to support the assumption that there is a concrete risk that the October–December 2022 rainy season could also fail, and urged immediate action to prevent the worst from transpiring in the months ahead.